You might not believe me when I tell you that one of the best sushi places in Philadelphia is tucked away on 2nd and Chestnut Street in Old City. Zento has a cool and intimate atmosphere and a vast menu filled with appetizers, sushi, noodles, and entrees. It is BYO, but they also have a full bar and I promise their specialty rolls are something you won’t find anywhere else.
You can dine outside on the sidewalk overlooking the cobblestone streets and whimsical ivy and plants growing outside the restaurant or enter inside for a dark, candlelit sushi bar and dining room with exposed brick walls. You won’t find excessive neon lighting or overly modern decor like you expect in most sushi restaurants.
Zento is my favorite choice for date night, special occasion or late night happy hour (8:30-11:00pm)! They also have a second floor dining area that is available for private parties or special events, I’ve seen recently on Mondays they have board game nights offering half priced drinks.
It is BYO ($10 corkage fee on weekends), but they also have a full bar. Have a saki-bomb with Sapporo or try the Lychee Martini or Mojito. The bar itself is small with only about 6 seats.
Stop by for lunch, Monday-Friday 11:30 am – 3 pm they have Bento Boxes, Donburi. For soup they have Miso, but they also offer King Crab Tofu Miso or Steamed Mussel Miso. If you’re a fan of noodles I would highly recommend the Tonkotsu Ramen with a creamy broth and Pork Shoulder. Other soups include Udon with Seafood, Waygu Beef, Vegetables, Grilled Chicken, or Mixed Tempura.
For dinner there so many sushi and sashimi options. Check out the specialty rolls and try something new! For appetizers I would recommend the Peking Duck Hand Rolls, Daikon Salad, Mixed Tempura or Avocado Salad. For sushi I would recommend…
- Square Roll– (Tuna or salmon) square sushi with eel, avocado, and plum paste. Topped with tuna or salmon glazed with sweet and spicy sauce
- Bronzino Roll– Cucumber, avocado, fried shallot inside and bronzino, micro green, yuzu vinaigrette on top
- Monkey Roll– Shrimp tempura and spicy sauce inside. Topped with smoked salmon and avocado
- Mexican Roll– White fish tempura, cucumber wrapped with soy paper topped with guacamole and mango salsa
- Double Shrimp Roll– Spicy shrimp tempura, cucumber inside, topped with sauteed shrimp, asparagus, mushroom with XO sauce
- Angus Beef Roll– Broiled scallion, avocado, and spicy sauce inside. Topped with angus beef and petite potato sticks
Of course the menu has all your standard rolls as well. What is great is that I can also bring my vegetarian friends here since they offer 8 different vegetarian rolls as well. If you’d rather try an entree from the kitchen the Salmon Teriyaki is sweet and the Chilean Sea Bass melts in your mouth. For those with a sweet tooth, Banana Spring Rolls, Tofu Cheesecake and Mochi Ice Cream are offered for dessert!